Spam comments are an unavoidable part of having a website or a blog. Both humans and spambots flood comment sections on the daily. This is not only annoying but can harm your brand’s image and leave a bad first impression.
While, in some cases, it’s impossible to stop spam comments altogether, you can slow them down or at least control them.
In this article, we will uncover the best ways to prevent spam comments on your WordPress site.
Why Stopping Spam Is Important?
Some website owners tend to ignore spam comments. As long as you neglect those comments, there might be consequences to face.
First of all, spam may bother your interaction with visitors in the comments section. This may lead visitors to question your website’s credibility. And in the worst-case scenario, people might think your website is a spam website.
Furthermore, spam comments may spread viruses, malware, malicious software, or illegal content posted as links. As a result, search engines may recognize your site as unsafe.
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Here a few general reasons why people spam:
- Better SEO ranking. Spammers expect search engines to place their website on the front page of search engine results pages (SERP).
- Website visibility. Spammers hope people will unintentionally click the link and visit their website.
- Illegitimate Marketing strategy. Spam comments might be a business plan to catch people’s attention and get more buyers.
There are hundreds of ways spammers will try to make money. However, you can easily combat spam using WordPress tools or activating an anti-spam plugin. Let’s check them out!
WordPress Native Settings
The good news about using WordPress is – you can manually delete spam comments on your posts. But, manual checking is time-consuming, isn’t it?
For sites that don’t need any interaction with visitors, WordPress provides a tool to disable comments altogether. To activate the feature, go to WordPress Settings > Discussion > Default article settings > Uncheck ‘Allow people to post comments on new articles’ box.
And if disabling comments is not an option, here are some settings to prevent any spam from being published on your site.
Comment Approval Settings
The first setting to use is – comment approval. This tool allows you to decide which comments to appear on your website. However, since you have to approve comments manually, it might be time-consuming.
Otherwise, to save your time, you can utilize comment approval settings to automatically publish comments from visitors who have a previously approved comment.
To enable the setting, go to Settings > Discussion > Before a comment appears > check ‘Comment must be manually approved’ and/or ‘Comment author must have a previously approved comment’ box(es).
Link Limitation Settings
As explained, most spammers will write a lot of links on the comment column. To overcome this, WordPress provides link limitation settings. You are even allowed to write any link limit based on your preference.
Once activated, comments which contain more links will automatically be marked as spam and placed in the moderation queue.
Go to WordPress Settings > Discussion > Comment Moderation > fill in the link limitation form.
Comment Restriction Settings
To prevent anonymous users from spreading spam, you have the authority to only allow registered users to write comments. Comment restriction settings will compel visitors to log in to their WordPress account before commenting.
Besides, you can use another restriction tool to ask visitors, who don’t have a WordPress account, to write their name and email.
Go to WordPress Settings > Discussion > Other comment settings > Check ‘Comment author must fill out name and email’ and ‘Users must be registered and logged in to comment’ boxes.
Useful WordPress Anti-Spam Plugins
Installing a plugin is another solution to get more protection from spam attacks. Let’s take a look at a few good options.
Akismet is the most-used anti-spam plugin. It has an impressive track record by successfully stopping an average of 7.5 million spam comments every hour. Moreover, its integration with Jetpack and Contact Form 7 ensures it’s easy to reach by everyone.
The plugin is available in more than 50 languages. So, it couldn’t be much easier for WordPress users from different countries to utilize Akismet.
To activate Akismet, you need to get a free or paid API key. The paid key provides access to more insightful data like daily and monthly stats. In the free version, it’s just the basic stats.
Although it’s a free WordPress plugin, Antispam Bee has promising tools that can help you block spam comments.
For instance, if you want to stop visitors from a particular country spamming, you can simply add that countries’ ISO code. Otherwise, just limit your comments availability for certain languages by using the language tool.
In addition, Antispam Bee will save your energy by having an automatic delete tool. You can set the regular database clean-up option and let the plugin do the work.
To oversee the work of the plugin, you can access spam statistics on your WordPress dashboard.
CleanTalk is a cloud-based plugin, which protects not only the comments section, this includes contacts, registration forms, feedback, and much more.
CleanTalk’s cloud service will be the server to store, filter, and decide whether to publish or label comments as spam.
Furthermore, CleanTalk gives straightforward protection without asking visitors to fill out captchas, do puzzles, or fiddle with other kinds of security actions. Thus, the plugin won’t bother your visitors.
Although CleanTalk offers a 7-day free trial, you need to make an annual subscription to get the service, starting from $8.
All in all, there are a lot of ways to overcome the spam problem. The simplest solution is to utilize WordPress comment settings. Feel free to explore the discussion submenu on your WordPress dashboard and find your preferable tools.
You can also use these handy anti-spam plugins to secure your website. Here is the recap:
- Akismet Anti-Spam – offers promising performance by filtering millions of spam comments every hour.
- Antispam Bee – helps you block spam comments from specific countries.
- Spam Protection, AntiSpam, Firewall by CleanTalk – is a cloud-based solution with effortless protection methods.
Stopping spam is easy, right? Just try these methods and you should be spam-free in no time!